Film & TV

‘Euphoria’ Season Two is a Stressful, Captivating Rollercoaster

Courtesy of HBOHBO’s “Euphoria” finished its second season with a pop of explosive twists and revelations in a gripping show sizzling the zeitgeist.

Despite the name of the show literally being “Euphoria,” its second season left viewers feeling more stressed than euphoric. 

Following a nearly three-year wait, the HBO Max series’ second season packed in as much content as possible. Season two expanded on the life of main character and narrator Rue Bennett (Zendaya), while also broadening the focus to Rue’s classmates and family.

The season begins with the aftermath of Rue’s relapse in the season one finale. Zendaya’s talented acting abilities quickly made her a hard-to-love character. Her portrayal of drug abuse and the lengths she’ll go to satisfy her addictions forces viewers to face the painful realities Rue created for herself and those around her.

Actress Sydney Sweeney stole the spotlight — literally — as Cassie Howard, practically turning into a household name. Cassie’s character highlighted the drama, stress and terror of toxic high school relationships through horrifyingly emotional moments, typically followed by scenes of her crying over the consequences of her own actions. Despite Cassie being generally despicable for this, Sweeney’s brilliance made it impossible to look away.

Rue and Cassie may have had their moments, but if any character was easy to hate, it was Nate Jacobs (Jacob Elordi). Nate’s abusive tendencies build throughout the season until culminating in the final three episodes when he unleashes his most manipulative and threatening behaviors in the name of revenge and, surprisingly, justice. 

Nate’s father Cal (Eric Dane) became a more prominent character in season two, focusing on his disturbing double life and its risk of exposure. While you can add him to the list of the most hateable characters in “Euphoria,” Cal’s sense of humor finally made an appearance. Cal stood beside a puddle of his own urine while delivering the most iconic line of the entire show: “I am who I am.” 

While the show has its fair share of reprehensible characters, season two also served as a season of redemption for many. Maddy Perez (Alexa Demie) discovered and subsequently established her independence, and Lexi Howard (Maude Apatow) took to the stage to escape the bystander role she often took on last season.

Writer Sam Levinson didn’t shy away from thickening plot points with the addition of new characters. Elliot (Dominic Fike) creates tension between Rue and Jules (Hunter Schafer), and Faye (Chloe Cherry) adds a comedic element to Fezco’s (Angus Cloud) otherwise serious drug-dealing operation.

Speaking of Fezco, the drug dealer was undeniably adored this season. Fez’s soft side shined through moments of tenderness and his charisma kept viewers engaged every day of the week — not just Sundays. Fezco, usually accompanied by his business partner Ashtray (Javon Walton), became a comfort character for many while also maintaining an intense storyline of his own.

If this season was anything, it was dense. Each character maintained their own intricate plots, which were occasionally overlapping or forgotten. While this sometimes proved to be overwhelming, it also allowed viewers to create unique attachments to each character individually. 

Season two of “Euphoria” was gripping and nerve-racking. It explored the depths and consequences of addiction, betrayal and redemption. While the content is definitely intense, the captivating storyline and exceptional acting turned Sundays into “‘Euphoria’ Day” for many. 

“Euphoria,” rated TV-MA, is streaming now on HBO Max.

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